hello, world: Chapter 3 of 3

September 15, 2015

Note: I forgot to schedule this post! Chapter 1 and 2 can be found before the Onok Island posts. Not that anyone actually reads these. :)) 


Speaking of what I do for a living...

I want to tell you about the first three job offers I got right out of college. The first one was with SMITS, the second one was with IBM, the third one was with this IT Firm in Ortigas, which name escapes me. What do they all have in common? They all offered me good programming jobs. They all also got turned down by me. Thing was, I wasn't interested in being a programmer.

Programming in college was fun for me. There was no pressure. If you made a mistake, it will only cost you your grades. But when I was a fresh graduate, thinking of programming for a living really got to me. Did I really want to slave hours and hours in front of the computer to think of logic that would make a program run? No. I was done with it! I was done with thinking on that level. I decided I wanted to go work in the infrastructure IT department. Then, HP came along with an offer to the same department, but very different career track.

I spent two years in a role that was low-paying and had no potential for career growth. Truth be told, if I was privileged enough, I would have resigned the moment I felt I had already saturated everything I could learn in that role. But I wasn't. I was living in Metro Manila independently. I had bills to pay.

Then came the time when I got really tired of the routine tasks and was not excited to go to work anymore. I realized I had to do something about it. Coincidentally, someone from PinoyExchange messaged me. At the time, I was an active PEX-er trying to help fresh graduates get into HP by referring them. It was my way of giving back. HP had no referral rewards program yet.

This guy asked me if I could contact the hiring manager who interviewed him to ask about updates on his application. This was around Christmas time. I communicated with the manager, and then my "what will I lose if I do this" attitude kicked in again. I asked him if he had openings in his team and that I am thirsty for career growth. He said he only has SAP ABAP Developer roles open.

"If you want to get into SAP, ABAP would be a great way to start. Knowing how things work at the backend will help you understand how the whole industry runs."

In case you don't know, ABAP is the programming language used in SAP. Can you see the irony? It was like a cosmic joke being played on me. Programming, which I tried so hard to stay out of, was right there for the taking.

It was either I move to that role or be jobless. The global recession was still in effect. Around that time, Accenture was laying off employees left and right. HP did not, but we also didn't get pay raises and some employees got a pay cut.

Desperate for a change in my career, I met up with the manager and by the end of the interview, I decided I really want that move.

The story abruptly jumps off to some years after I've actually experienced being a programmer. Whenever I would introduce myself in social gatherings, I would say "Hello, I'm Jen. I'm a programmer." This, I haven't said a lot with pride because I know I'm not the best at it.

But you know what? Singapore has totally changed my perception. Never in my career have I said to myself I want to learn more everyday, and be more everyday as a developer until I got here. Here, I started enjoying again the thrill of being able to create something from scratch, or fix an issue that has been annoyingly recurring. "Hello, I'm Jen. I'm a programmer." I know I'm not the best at it. AT LEAST NOT YET.

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